Summer Gardening: A Decision, a Discipline, and a Delight

I’ve enjoyed sharing this little spin on Summer Gardening by growing in spiritual disciplines and in Christian life.

My summer of turning the soil (silence and solitude), soaking in Living Water (worshipping in His Presence), and fertilizing the soil (reading and listening to good books) has been and continues to be really wonderful!!!

It’s been a delight, but it hasn’t always been.

In summers past, I slept late everyday.  I had very little time to myself because taking care of the kids was is wonderful but nonstop. It seemed like by the time I got up and got rolling, the day was mostly gone. Even with the gift of summer days at home, I still wasn’t tending to my heart like I really wanted. I had the desire to deepen my relationship with God, but the choices I made was not getting me there.

Like with any summer gardening, you need the right tools to get the job done, to get to where you really want to be.

I had to make a decision and develop a discipline in order to make it a delight!

The routine I wanted to grow my heart wasn’t going to change until I made the decision to change. The desire for the outcome I wanted had to be stronger than my current habits which caused me to waste a lot of time. I had a lot of excuses too- I’m not an early morning person, I don’t have a lot of time for reading, I don’t have a lot of time by myself, etc. While I’m working during the school year, it truly is more difficulty to do the things I really desired to nourish myself so I knew I had to steward the gift of my summer days at home better than this. Nothing really changes unless you make the conscious decision to do something different. So, making the decision to make different choices was my starting point.

 

Next came the discipline. I am not an early riser by nature. I love to sleep late. I love my summer laziness. It’s the great gift of being a school teacher to sleep in and take it slow and easy through the morning…..at least it is for me! During that season where the kids were babies and toddlers, there was no sleeping late. I thought I would never sleep past 7:00 again! As they’ve grown, of course they are sleeping later! Hallelujah!

Following my decision to make new habits, I began the discipline of getting up before the family. At first, it was hit or miss. Some days I would and other days, sleepiness would win. With each day I said ‘yes’ to the discipline, the choice to rise up got easier and easier.

Proper discipline requires balance, and it is summer, after all. So, on Saturdays, holidays, and vacation I sleep in. Glorious! And, on Sundays, I’m getting ready for church.

Day after day of choosing to wake up early for silence, soaking and study quietly and almost without notice became a delight! I would find myself looking forward to this precious time. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in Saturdays, I found myself thinking “oh, tomorrow is Monday, I will have my morning time!”

Devotion to my spiritual disciplines has turned into a delight! When the alarm goes off, I roll out of bed and take my place. I still have days where I have to make a decision to get up, but it’s always worth it. When school starts again, I’ll have to amend this routine to fit the schedule. I’m not quite sure how that will work. It may be a new decision with a new discipline

I bet many of you are early birds and don’t have to work at rising early. What other areas could you make a decision and a discipline turn into a delight to deepen your faith and help your Summer Garden grow?

I’d love to hear about it!

Check out this Facebook Live video where I’m talking about the 3 D’s here.

If you need a little help with your summer gardening, I put together a little e-book with Scripture meditations, reflections questions, and a resource list just for you! When you sign up, you’ll get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter. Sign up here. Hope it helps!

~Amy

 

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Summer Gardening: Rich, Dark Soil

You gotta have rich, dark soil. Any good gardener or farmer will tell you that.

After years and years of growing a crop or a flower bed, the earth gets depleted of its nutrients and its substance. The ground gets stale from constantly bearing fruit.

It’s no different with my heart.

After a season (or many seasons) of output and productivity, my heart becomes depleted of its nutrients and substance. I can get stale and weary if I don’t take the time to put nourishment back.

We’ve already talked about how silence and solitude are like turning the soil and soaking in His Presence is like soaking in water. Now, we must put the good stuff back by fertilizing the soil.

I wish I could use another idea to describe nourishing the soil because fertilizer is….well you know what it is. And, I don’t want to imply that taking care of your heart is B.S, but you get the idea, right?

In my summer gardening, I’ve been fertilizing the soil of my heart through listening to and reading books.

At the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to deepen my literary scope by reading some classic Christian authors and widen my scope of Christian history. However, with work and home and church and ministry, it was really hard to have the time or energy to dig into such dense spiritual nutrients.

So, for the summer, I’m making it a priority.  First off, I’m reading the Bible. I’ve already worked my way through Jeremiah and Lamentations. Now, I’m reading Ezekiel. I do this first thing in the morning while the house is quiet before the kids wake up. Since it’s still kinda hard to sit down and read a book, I’m using the book app, Scribd, on my phone to listen to books while I do other things. I’ve already listened to A.W. Tozer’s The Crucified Life and am currently working through Weight of Glory, a collection of sermons by C.S. Lewis. I have a real book that I hold in my hands called The Joy of Ministry by  Thomas W. Currie, III that I’m slowly digesting bit by bit.

My strategy is to rotate different kinds of works and authors to get a variety of deposits into my spirit- Christian discipline, theology, etc. Next, I hope to include some good ol’ church history and some practical ministry resources. I’m also watching videos of one of my favorite authors, Alicia Britt Chole. She has a series on TBN called The Sacred Slow. I haven’t had the chance to read her book yet, but the videos have been a great addition to my other books.

Of course, I have to add some good, yummy fiction to round out this diet for my soul. I have a few titles picked out on my Scribd account that were recommendations, but I have a physical book by my favorite fiction author, Francine Rivers. Many years ago, I read her Mark of the Lion series which is wonderful, so for a few minutes a day, I’ll read A Voice in the Wind. Delightful!

Can I tell you how wonderful this has been? The Tozer and Lewis pieces were simply inspiring and gets me motivated to exercise. The phone app has been really great because I’m still a better listener than a reader. I can’t wait to dive into the church history. Watching Alicia always draws me closer to Jesus. I feel like I’m nourishing myself well.

By depositing Scripture, authors, and ideas into my spirit, I hope to enrich the soil of my heart by teaching my mind and nourishing my heart so that I can have a more fulfilling relationship with God and hopefully, continued quality seasons of productivity and ministry.

Last week, I talked about it here on Facebook. Check it out.

What books are you reading? How are you fertilizing your soil? How’s your summer gardening going?

If you need a little help with your summer gardening, I put together a little e-book with Scripture meditations, reflection questions, and a resource list just for you! When you sign up, you’ll get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter. Sign up here.

Hope it helps!

~Amy

Summer Gardening: Soaking in His Presence

The most satisfying experience in all my existence is being the in the presence of God.

Out of all the pleasures that are ours to enjoy….eating, sleeping, playing, satisfaction in completing a task or job, reading, learning, nature, friends, music, art…or even chocolate……none compare to being in God’s Presence. Only the love for a child and the embrace of intimacy even come close.

These God-given, human experiences delight us and make us happy. They are part of the full, abundant life that God delights in giving us. We are content, satisfied, and blessed, but they leave us wanting more. When the experience fades (or the food is digested), the hunger or desire or longing returns, and we want more. It satisfies, but then we must experience it again to be satisfied again.

Being in God’s Presence, however, is not just pleasing to my senses or fills a physical need. Experiencing God touches something deeper than the biological requirements of my body, or the intellectual questions of my mind, or the expressing of my emotions. Being with God satisfies my spirit. Deep within me, at the essence of my being, God’s presence connects with mine.

I am satisfied in a way that is so much more complete than any of those other earthly experiences. I feel whole. I feel I am who I was meant to be.

This deep spiritual satisfaction radiates from my inmost being and rises up in me expressing itself in overwhelming floods of emotion- love, joy, peace, thankfulness. My mind has ideas and thoughts that only come from the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit so that my questions get answered and guidance is given to my decisions. My body responds with tears and laughter and words that may or may not be understood, and out of me overflows a love for those around me.

Soaking in His Presence, or worshipping God, continues as part of my Summer Gardening. Communing with God’s Spirit is like drinking up, bathing in or, diving deep into water so that’s why soaking seems to be the appropriate gardening imagery. Like a gentle rain on a lazy afternoon, my spirit is saturated and satisfied worshipping God, soaking in His Presence.

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Many of us worship God in lots of different ways. For me, though, my primary mode is through music. Singing and playing has a way communicating to God and with God in a way that puts me in that Holy Place like no other. Music is the language that intersects the spirit, mind, and emotions. It fills the room when we are alone and unites the assembly when we are together.

But music isn’t the only way to soak in His Presence. Being in nature, reading, creating, spending time with precious friends or family, communion, reading Scripture are all ways to worship and to soak. Each person is uniquely created to relate to God in a variety of ways.

The mode or method, I’m learning, isn’t as important as the sincerity. Worshipping God doesn’t look the same from person to person as I once used to think. From God’s perspective, He doesn’t need us to worship in any particular fashion. He doesn’t need it in any certain way. I do think, however, the object of our worship should be glorifying to God. A Godly activity that makes us feel good is nice, but are we focusing on who God is and Him being exalted in our lives and in that moment.

The purpose of my summer gardening and soaking is to be intentional and take this extra time I have at home to really pursue God. Like I mentioned in Tending the Soil, those seasons of busyness can take a toll on one’s body and spirit. So, pursuing the silence, solitude, and worshipping in God will deepen the roots of my relationship with Him while He replenishes and renews me.

There’s nothing more satisfying than soaking in His Presence. Check out this video where I’m talking about it on Facebook.

What are the ways in which you were created to worship God?

How do you soak in His Presence?

If you need a little help with your summer gardening, I put together a little e-book with Scripture meditations, reflection questions and a resource list for you! When you sign up, you’ll also get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter! Sign up here! Hope it helps!

~Amy

Living Water

Water is amazing.

Water serves us as one of the most perfect gifts God has ever created on this earth. Think about it. It nourishes and hydrates- we drink it to live. It cleanses and heals- we wash to be clean. Water is comforting and relaxing. I am reminded how wonderful water is as I’m floating in my friend’s pool and all the tension in my body melts away. Even a simple fountain with trickling water soothes my mind and helps me breathe deeply. Aaaaahhhhh….can you just hear it?

But water is also powerful.

My family and I went hiking to a cave recently in the hills of Tennessee. It was a beautiful trail, a bit rocky at times though as I huffed and puffed my way down the path. When we finally reached the opening of the huge cave, waves of cool air hit us in the face as a reward for the long journey. A small creek was flowing out of the cave trickling down over several levels of boulders and rocks into a nice running stream. Taking off my shoes and wading in the chilly water, I was refreshed and renewed (no, I didn’t drink it. I learned that lesson the hard way many years ago).

I began to notice how all the rocks were shaped differently by the water. Some rocks were smooth and rounded. Some rocks had been hollowed out like perfect bowls. Some rocks had jagged or sharp edges made by the water. Flowing water had even carved out this cave.

The same water that can nourish and relax has the power to shape rock.

We have been given a similar gift. We have been given the promise of Living Water.

Water splashing over rocks.

Jesus tells us in John 7:38-39 “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”

The Holy Spirit that Jesus is speaking of fills us and flows out of us like a river. The Spirit comforts like a float in a calm pool. The Spirit cleanses like a long, hot bath. The Spirit refreshes like wading in a cool spring. When we drink of this water, we will never thirst again.

Yet, there is one difference between the Living Water and the H2O stuff all around us. While the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to topple a city or sweep out a town like a flood or tsunami, He will never, ever over take you. He will never force or flood you more than you can handle or desire.

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Like the slow, steady trickle from a cave spring, the Holy Spirit can take those rough, rocky places in our hearts and smooth out the edges, hollow out the stone and shape into us  a cave that only God can fill.

“Come to this water, there is a vast supply. There is a river, that never shall run dry.”

Come, drink- and be satisfied.

~Amy

 

Summer Gardening: Tending to the Soil

It’s been a very busy Spring season. Lots of productivity, creativity, and busyness have marked our days.

But now……(insert Olaf singing)……IT’S SUMMER!!!!!

My goal this summer is to be intentional about my summer gardening. However, if you know me, you know I’m not much of a gardener.

I’m talking about a different kind of gardening….I’m tilling the soil of my heart by pushing intensely into my relationship with God.

See, through all of my busyness in the spring, my heart got tired. I expended a lot of energy. After Women of the Way, I wanted to share thoughts and ideas. I wanted to write about what I’ve been thinking about. I wanted to keep the productivity going, but I just didn’t have the ‘umpf’ to match my intention. My soul was compacted- packed down hard from all the exertion.

So, once summer vacation began, the soul gardening started with silence and solitude.

Rising before anyone else wakes up, I sit in the light of the morning sun. The warm glow on my face, my eyes closed, and I meditate on God. He is good. I’m so thankful. His love endures forever.

Do thoughts creep in? Yes. What’s on the to-do list? I need to buy groceries. I’m worried about so-and-so…..Does sleepiness creep in….Oh yes! I’ll just stretch out on the couch for a minute. No, that will put me back to sleep! Sit up!

Opening my eyes, the sun is rising through the trees. The gleaming beams brighten up the quiet living room. I refocus and start again.

Lazy summer days are the best!
colorful sunset at the sea shore

This time, I listen for the birds.

Surprisingly, listening to the birds early in the morning helps me stay focused on God. Their calls and songs keep me from thinking about tasks that need to be done and keep my attention towards the eternal. I close my eyes again and listen for the birds while thinking about God. I listen for God.

At first, it wasn’t easy. I’m not a morning person. I LOVE to sleep late. So, starting out, getting up very early was a decision. Each day, the choice was a discipline. As each morning passed, I realized how much I want to get up early and spend time with Him. It has become a delight! I look forward to my special quiet solace in the sunshine.

This early morning gardening has turned up my soil and brought fresh air and sunlight into my heart. Where my heart had gotten a bit depleted for all the productivity and maybe a bit hardened (not discouraged or hopeless, just spent) from all the doing, this practice of silence and solitude has broken up the dry ground and worked in some fresh air and light.

Does it seem like I should be doing something for God? Sure, those things come later. But during this early morning, soul-tilling, heart-aerating silence, being with God is what matters most. This song, by Andy Park, is what my heart longs for most……

In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness you are there
In the secret
In the quiet hour I wait only for you
‘Cause I want to know you more

I want to know you
I want to hear your voice
I want to know you more
I want to touch you
I want to see your face
I want to know you more

Here’s a video where I’m talking about my gardening and tending my soul through silence on Facebook. Have a listen…..

How are you soul tending and gardening your heart?

If you want some help with your summer gardening, here’s a little e-book I put together with some meditations, reflections questions, and a resource list to help you. When you sign up, you’ll get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter. Sign up here! Hope it helps!

~Amy

 

Women Need Women

Everybody’s first mentor was, of course, their mother. Your mother was likely the first woman to have significant influence in shaping your life. My mother was no different- she had a tremendous amount of wisdom while I was growing up:

-I don’t care how tall you get, I will climb up in that chair and get you! (She is much shorter than me because I shot up past her at age 12.)

-You need to finish school before you start your family. (It took her 13 years to finish college)

-And one of the most recent… I want to be the mother you need now. (And, she is!)me&mom

But then, there were things that my mother didn’t tell me. It’s not that she didn’t try. You have only so much time, you know,  to raise a girl into a lady. She got the big messages pounded in my head, but still, there were some things she failed to mention like..…

my pregnant belly- the day after I had my first daughter as I got dressed, I turned one way and my stretched, wrinkly, deflated stomach went the other way. What? No one had ever said to me (and I even read the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book and not. one. word.) “Listen, when you have a baby, your stomach skin will deflate like a balloon. But, it’s ok, hon, your stomach will shrink back….mostly”

Or….. hair growing in weird places. I admit, I have heard about this one. But, I didn’t think it would actually happen to me.  Someone needed to say “Yes, you will grow hair in some places and lose hair in others. Yes, it Will happen to you”. Still. Shuddering.

And how can we leave out..….sagging skin. A few years ago as I climbed into the shower, I caught an accidental and very unintentional look at my backside in the mirror. I was shocked to find my rear end had fallen into my thigh which resulted in this hunk of skin bulging out. I mean…really! Where did that come from???

All I’m saying is that someone should have told me these things! At least I could have been more prepared.

 

Despite having to learn some of these lessons the hard way, there have been many women whose mentoring took me under their wings. Pastor wives, women’s ministry leaders, and older friends who would share of themselves in bible studies, prayer, sitting around the  kitchen table talking, and listening.

I’ve been especially touched in the past few years by women who were God-sent into my life who’ve literally taken care of me. I had my oldest, Abigail in 2005, then in 2007 I had triplets. So, in two years, we went from 0 children to 4 children!! We needed help! There’s been Judy and Paola who cleaned house and babysat. Rebecca, only 14 at the time, would organize books and onesies and play with Abigail. As the years have gone by, there’s been women who’ve come into my life and have supported me in countless ways. Like Kim who knew times were tight for us financially and would quietly bless me with a shirt or piece of jewelry. Or, Nancy who would let me float at the pool with no kids. They have taken care of me at a time in my life (and are still) when I’ve had to focus so much on taking care of others.

Through the years, I’ve had women challenge me to pray for the tough, selfless prayers and to grow in maturity and to learn ‘it’s not about me”. I even had a friend look me in the eye to say the tough words…”I’ve been there…. don’t do it….. stop it.”

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See, Women need women.

Women need women to pass down all this secret knowledge about being a woman and to encourage, teach, shape and inspire each other. I wonder…if Eve had ever had a mentor,  a sister, or even a BFF, would that have changed anything at all?

“Girl, put that apple down this minute!”

Because….women need women.

Titus ch 2 reminds us that the older women need to teach the younger women. The older women should pass down their experience to the younger ones who need a little help along the way. Older women should realize that their ‘job’ isn’t done simply because their families are grown and out of the nest. There are SO many ministry opportunities out there for an older woman to ministry to a younger woman.

Younger women need to realize that they can’t do it all alone. You need support and an extra pair of hands sometimes. Younger women need to seek out and listen to the advice and wisdom that older can offer.

Is there some secret knowledge you wish had been passed on to you? Who has shaped you into the woman you are today?

As we finish up the month of May and the celebration of motherhood, what ways can you reach out to the women around you?

~Amy

Being Made in His Image (or..I’m turning into my mother!)

It was bound to happen.

All my life, people told me how I favored my mother…blue eyes, round cheeks, smile. However, as I’ve become older, I notice how I am acting like my mother! It started with my husband saying, “you sound just like your mother when you said that!”…or….”you squinted your eyes just like your mother.”

I mean, I’ve heard plenty of times how women would say they looked in the mirror and saw their mother. That was no big surprise. But, in the last couple of years, I notice all kinds of little habits that are just like her! How I hold my hands, making a gesture, asking a question…..or even how I LOVE my favorite fountain drink on ice in a styrofoam cup complete with lid and a straw! I actually get giddy! (except I love Diet Mountain Dew and momma loves Diet Coke)

The good news is I don’t mind! I kinda laugh to myself when I do something that is just like her. What I find so interesting is that I never set out to try to do any of these things like her. I’ve never sat across the dinner table observing her subtle moves and gestures. I’ve never calculated and taken mental notes to consciously mimic her. Sure, part of it could be genetics. Maybe. But most of it is just from being around her for 40 years.

I’ve been formed in her image from being in her presence so much!

One-Bella-Casa-I-Am-My-Mother-Pillow-70588PL (2)

Now, she’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a carbon copy of her. There’s a lot I don’t do like her (I rarely iron…sorry mom…I just don’t!). So many little parts of her have formed into me from simply being around her that I subtly pick them up!

It’s the same with our relationship with God.

Hopefully, I am being made into His image from being in His presence. When I spend time with Him in prayer, study, meditation, and worship, I began to pick up his characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control and goodness. I began to love people like He does and want to reach out to minister to them.

If I tried to exert effort to act like Jesus, I would most likely fail because I am trying to be something that is not in my nature. But….if I am in His presence so much that His nature subtly changes me, then I find myself looking and loving and acting more like Him. Simply being around Him is going to affect the way I behave.

I think being like Jesus has rubbed off from my mom too!me&mom

So, next time you us zooming down the road, we’ll likely have our fountain drinks in hand!

How about you? How are you turning into your mother? How are you being made into His image??

~Amy

On the Outside of the Circle

She sat across the table from me. She didn’t say a word. We were a bunch of women who  attended a workshop together, so the hotel restaurant seated us at one table. Some ladies knew each other and chatted away about this and that. Most of us were strangers. I knew a couple of ladies on my left and spoke to them occasionally, but mostly, I watched the others around me.

I watched to see if any of the other ladies would strike up a conversation with the woman seated across from me.  I thought that maybe I should talk to her. But, I was stubborn. I was grumpy for being at this particular restaurant. I had wanted to go some place else, but for the sake of the group, I went with what they wanted. I selfishly thought “I always talk first, let somebody else talk, why doesn’t someone talk to me??” (Yes, there was a little pity party going in my head) So, I sat there, ate my chicken, and observed.

She waited for her food, ate her hamburger in silence, and left.

I was saddened that no one around that table said a word to this woman. She wasn’t included in any of their conversations. Then again, I was guilty too. I didn’t say a word to her either:/

Why is it we stay in our groups and keep to ourselves? Why is it so hard to widen our circles just a bit to include someone sitting just on the outside? Why is it we sit at the table and just talk to the people we know? At work? At a restaurant? At church??

Maybe some of you are better at it than I. Maybe you don’t let these opportunities walk away like I did. Maybe I’m a little sensitive to this subject. Oh I know…some of us are shyer than others, and some of us are more outgoing. I have to admit that its hard for me to open up with a new person until I feel comfortable with her. But, I’ve been on the other side too. I’ve sat on the outside waiting for someone to talk to me. I’ve been the newcomer awkwardly hoping to get in on the conversation. It’s not enjoyable. So, maybe that’s why I notice it.

outside

So, I’m trying to be better. I am trying to include the newbie, notice the one off to herself, and reach out to make that connection. I’m not going to let a woman walk away without saying something to her anymore. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m trying. I’m trying to be better because relationships, friendships and connections are the silver and gold, the real stuff that matters. Eternal.

What has been your experience? Is it easy for your to strike a conversation with anyone?Have you ever been on the outside of the circle? If you would like to sign up for some more encouragement, join me here…

~Amy

 

Silver and Gold

**One of the biggest blessings I receive from WoW gatherings is meeting and getting to know precious sisters in Christ! But not just me…watching all of you make friends and making new connections is such a joy to watch!! You are my Silver and Gold**

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“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  A circle’s round it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

Life is not about the stuff you accumulate or how much money you make. It’s not about your achievements or the letters behind your name.  It’s not about what you drive or your net worth.

Life is about Silver and Gold. It’s about friends, old and new. Those precious relationships mined out of life’s ins and outs. The people we meet that make our lives richer.

I’ve been keenly aware of the silver and gold in my own life this summer: A day at the pool,  sending that selfie from a dressing room ‘does this dress work?’, catching up on the phone, stopping by the office for a quick hug, planning a meet-up on Facebook, attending a difficult life changing event, inviting some over for a party, staying over for dinner, sharing revelations, and studying Truth. All of it precious. All of them Silver and Gold.

We can’t make it without friends. We need that wide circle of friends to cheer for us and have fun. We need that tight circle of confidants to tell us, “Girl, you’d better put that down!” We need that one kindred spirit to whisper those secrets of the heart. We need to nourish these relationships because we draw so much nourishment from them.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

I love it that I get sharpened by my Silver and Gold. Keeps me humble. Gets me loved. Lets me grow. Makes me More than I am.

Who are your Silver and Gold? Don’t let them tarnish. Polish them as often as possible. In turn, they will polish you, sharpen you. And, you will never be left empty.

~Amy

What will you do when there’s a Flood?

We’ve been talking about how God can use simple people to do great things for Him.

But, it seems like there is so much bad stuff going on. Persecution and suffering around the world seem like a flood. It feels like the enemy is in overdrive to bring as much evil and heartache to the world. You feel it too, right?

We must remind ourselves, however, of Isaiah 59:19….

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of God will lift up a standard against it.

God promises that when the enemy floods our lives that He will lift up a standard against the flood.

What’s the standard? The standard is an opposing force that will stop the flood.

Who is the standard? Jesus Christ is the standard. God is promising that He will lift up Christ in the midst of this overwhelming flood from the enemy.

But How is God going to lift this standard of Christ? Through us. The Body of Christ. His Body- The Church. We are the ones who God will use to facilitate, administer, and activate the standard in the midst of the flood.

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God will use us to bring Christ to the world to stop this flood of evil.

But we aren’t going to infiltrate by marching in a parade wearing offensive hats?!? We aren’t going to be bossy, mean, demanding, or demeaning .

How are we going to do this? Only like godly women can!

Just like the Women of Courage from the Bible, we will lift this Standard with wisdom, love, the peace and joy of God, not by might or power but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) We will lift this standard against the enemy’s flood when we……

birth babies like midwives when Pharaoh tells us not to

when put that baby in a boat and send him down the river like Jochebed

when we become queen like Esther influencing the heart of the king from within the castle

when we plead on our husbands behalf like Abigail

when we submit to the angel bearing the Good News like Mary

when we tell those around us ‘I’ve just seen Jesus’ like Mary Magdalene’!

We will lift the Standard of Christ when we teach children to read and speak, advocate for abused and neglected children, support people with disabilities, meet the needs of the sick and elderly, raise your children and grandchildren, care for your parents or spouse, teach SS, or lead VBS or make meals or work in the nursery……the list goes on and on….

We are going to love, encourage, speak truth, share joy and peace. We are going to be Salt and make people thirsty for the Gospel, and we’re going to be Light and shine the Glory of God in dark places for the glory of His name!!!

That’s how we will be Women of Courage to lift up the standard of Christ when the enemy comes in like a flood to hurt God’s people.

The enemy may see it as small, but God sees our service as big, bold, mighty acts. When you are a Women of Courage like this, you are Big Giants of the Faith. God wants to use YOU to stop the evil flood in this world!

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Join us for week 2 as we continue our series on “Women of Courage”! Find out how God can use you to life the Standard of Christ in this flooded world and how you can be a Woman of Courage!

~Amy